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MSD partners up with Seattle Genetics in two oncology development deals potentially worth over $4bn

Published on 15/09/20 at 12:27pm

MSD has signed two new oncology-based deals with Seattle Genetics which together could be worth up to around $4.4 billion.

The first of the two deals will focus on the development of Seattle Genetics’ LIV-1 inhibitor iadiratuzumab vedotin alone and in combination with MSD’s blockbuster immunotherapy drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) as a treatment for triple-negative breast cancer, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer and other solid tumours which express LIV-1.

For this, MSD will put up $600 million up front and a $1 billion equity investment for five million of Seattle Genetics’ shares, while the latter will also have the option to scoop up an additional $2.6 billion in milestone payments.

In the second deal, MSD will pay an upfront sum of $125 million to license its partners’ tyrosine kinase inhibitor Tuksya (tucatinib) in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia for the treatment of HER-2-positive cancer. Subject to additional milestones, Seattle Genetics will be eligible to receive a further $65 million on the deal.  

Tuksya is already approved by the FDA for the treatment of advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer in patients who have already received at least one previous anti-HER2-based treatment, with the decision reached in April this year.

“These two strategic collaborations will enable us to further diversify Merck’s broad oncology portfolio and pipeline, and to continue our efforts to extend and improve the lives of as many patients with cancer as possible,” remarked Roger M Perlmutter, President at MSD. “We look forward to working with the team at Seattle Genetics to advance the clinical programme for ladiratuzumab vedotin, which has shown compelling signals of efficacy in early studies, and to bring Tukysa to even more patients with cancer around the world.”

The news of the partnership sent Seattle Genetics’ shares up by 12%.

Matt Fellows

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